Eish...the untimely passing of loved ones is always an emotional period and it comes as the most appropriate time to reflect on the life and times of the departed, simply because death always reminds us of our mortality, human shortcomings and the milestones achieved.
Dear readers, my ageing fingers are trembling with anger, regret, and above all grief, as I am emotionally tickling the keyboard of my trusted navy laptop writing this tribute to a dearest friend, whom I regarded as my own kith and kin.
It is therefore my humble conviction that we should honour historical truth without the added burden of historical creativity.
Please pardon me, but my personal and honest view regarding historical truth is that the departed Jasehn Petrus was a rare athlete par excellence. Without a shadow of a doubt, the boy with the delicious left foot was always a marvel to watch and arguably the most entertaining footie of his generation.
Petrus, Namibians will always treasure the adrenaline-pumping moments you entertained us with your well-executed long passes from the left side of the field. Your contribution towards the overall growth of the beautiful game of football was immersed and will forever be entrenched in our memories. Without an iota of doubt, you were one of the very few local footies who played the game the way it should be played. Petrus has certainly brought tears of joy and ecstasy to the hearts of many football followers, including the neutral fan.
He came as an unknown entity, conquered and announced his arrival on the big stage with breath-taking displays week in and week out, marshalling the left side of Blue Waters’ rear-guard with the confidence and maturity of a seasoned campaigner.
Statistics reveal that left-footed players possess extraordinary skills, and in case you are unaware of that adage, Times Mwetuyela, Lionel Messi, Diogo Maradona, Deon Hotto-Kavendjii, Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, Ziggi Anderson, Jason Kayala Haufiku, Britto Shipanga, Wolfgang Fleschhammel, Henni Dawid, Bomber Schultz, Mathew Amathila, Kaputji Kuhanga, and many others spring to mind.
Truth be told, Petrus should be placed in the same conversation as the abovementioned greats. The author is a great admirer of simple one-touch football, hence my long-time affection towards the Waters’ traditional playing style of free-flowing football.
Petrus fitted perfectly in Waters’ traditional style of carpet football, successfully copied from immigrant fishermen who descendant en-masse to the harbour town since the team’s formation in 1936. Despite his tender age, Petrus was by a decent distance the best player in Waters’ smooth sailing yacht, initiating dangerous attacks from the back with telling long passes to the forwards.
His well-timed crosses mostly culminated in crucial match-winning goals with Angolan import Armando Pedro the chief beneficiary of those flawless deliveries. However, after some splendid displays in the Birds’ solid backline, the overlapping fullback sent shockwaves amongst the club’s diehards in 2004. He surprisingly jumped ship to join bitter rivals Eleven Arrows, in a move that did not go well down the throats of many Waters’ followers. Soon afterwards, his flawless performance caught the sharp eye of leading football agent Colin April, who shipped him across the Orange River to join forces with South African second-tier outfit Basotho Tigers/Northwest Tigers.
The team was campaigning in the highly competitive Mvela League, where he was to be reunited with compatriot Rudolf Bester. Petrus was one of the team’s best performers and was always a regular starter for the ambitious Kimberley-based outfit.
He rose to prominence when he netted a sensational goal from a free kick in the Cosafa Cup between the Brave Warriors and hosts Angola at the Estadio de Cidadela in the Angolan capital Luanda in 2004. Namibia were trailing by a goal when they were awarded a free kick almost near the halfway line. Petrus placed the spherical object neatly on the surface before sending the poor Angolan goalkeeper clutching thin air as his well-placed delivery kissed the roof of the net to level matters. Well, as it turned out, the old saying that home is always where the heart is played her hand again.
The prodigal son rejoined boyhood
team Blue Waters upon his successful short-lived stint in South Africa and continued from where he left off. A bird of passage, Petrus developed itchy feet for the umpteenth time and would again
resurface at Arrows for his second stint.
However, it was not long before he packed his bags, heading towards the city of bright lights where he joined Olympia outfit Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) in the country’s topflight football league (NPL).
However, he could not prevent ‘Immer Wieder’ as the German outfit is affectionately known amongst its ardent supporters, from escaping the dreaded relegation axe in the 2012/2013 season.
SKW finished second from bottom, one point above fellow strugglers Mighty Gunners on the log standings with 23 points, same as his parent team Blue Waters, but the latter escaped relegation by the skin of its teeth; courtesy of a slightly superior goal average.
A true servant of the game, the tireless strongly built fullback graciously went down and continued playing for SKW in the lower-tier league.
And even though he was getting a bit long in the tooth, Petrus stayed put and gradually mentored upcoming youngsters until he retired from playing competitive football. He also had a short stint with Donkerhoek outfit Tigers. He amassed five international caps with the Brave Warriors and scored one goal.
Before I sign off, let me take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank both Paulus ‘Wire’ Shipanga and Page Ananias for connecting me with my adopted son, a mere 48 hours before he passed on.
Rarely did we know that it would be our last physical encounter as if he was just waiting for me to bid farewell. Eish...it was indeed a definite god-sent coincidental gesture.